| UP (discussion topics) |

Thread 3: Mazian's Fleet during and after the Company Wars



view full message
>From: Jo Jaquinta <jaymin>
>Subject: cherryhlist -- How old are spacers?
>Date: Thu, 1 Oct 92 9:17:44 BST
(...)
Which brings me on to a favourite topic: The Fleet. I wouldn't dismiss them quite as readily as people seem to. OK they aren't mentioned much in Cyteen but I don't see them being totally out of the picture. They have been pushed back into the hinder stars but if they are running and stringing their jumps they are going to be around for a *long* time. What would you do if you were Mazian?
			Jo


view full message
>From: Lesley Grant <lgrant>
>Subject: cherryhlist: spacers' age and Fleet 
>Date: Fri, 2 Oct 92 9:38:21 BST
(...)
 > 	Which brings me on to a favourite topic: The Fleet. I wouldn't
 > dismiss them quite as readily as people seem to. OK they aren't mentioned
 > much in Cyteen but I don't see them being totally out of the picture.
 > They have been pushed back into the hinder stars but if they are running
 > and stringing their jumps they are going to be around for a *long* time.
By the time of _Cyteen_ it is certainly implied the Fleet are no more. They need a place in real space to lick their wounds real-time, and that's what was denied them. Unless they find a nice new world for themselves..
 > What would you do if you were Mazian?
Take Earth. Failing that (:-), and if it looked like supplies were running low and the cause was lost, come in screaming at all Union ports and take them with me. That way, Earth is supreme once more, and the merchanters arte scared. Of course, he didn't do that, as Cyteen and all the other places are still there -- but Union thought he might, which is why Gehenna was colonised. (OK, so that's what Emory thought, not the rest of the war types, but I think she had a point).
			Lesley


view full message
>From: Jo Jaquinta <jaymin>
>Subject: CherryhList
>Date: Mon, 5 Oct 92 9:44:02 BST
(...)
>	By the time of _Cyteen_ it is certainly implied the Fleet are no
>more. They need a place in real space to lick their wounds real-time, and
>that's what was denied them. Unless they find a nice new world for themselves..
After Downbelow station they certainly aren't a threat to Union.
>  > What would you do if you were Mazian?
> 	Take Earth. Failing that (:-), and if it looked like supplies were
> running low and the cause was lost, come in screaming at all Union ports
> and take them with me.
Hmmm. I'd ransack whatever of the Hinder Stars that were reachable. Rip out their hydroponics and rig them on your carrier. Then head *real-space* for whichever of the Hinder Stars is not reachable by jump space. Remember that they were settled before FTL travel and accessibility of stars in jump spaces doesn't seem to bear much relationship to real-space position. If you examine the map in The Company War boardgame you can see places where the the intervening jump point between Mariner and Cyteen (I think) is about 50 light years above their plane, vertical whereas the two stars are at most 6 light years apart.
I've located all but two (I think) of the Hinder Stars on that map and many of them aren't connected by jump routes. Many of the Fleet originated on STL merchants and it wouldn't take too much to adjust to a long bitter flight between the starts (about a 10 year trip?) to one of the Hinder Stars untouched by FTL travel. To stations only partially stripped.
Perhaps the appropriate station to try would be El Dorado...
				Jo


view full message
>Date: Tue, 6 Oct 92 10:55:16 EDT
>From: ott@ansoft.com (nancy ott)
>Subject: cherryhlist
(...)
>	By the time of _Cyteen_ it is certainly implied the Fleet are no
> more. They need a place in real space to lick their wounds real-time, and
> that's what was denied them. Unless they find a nice new world for themselves..
I think attrition takes care of the Fleet by the time of _Cyteen_. Remember, they have limited resources to start with, and they can't easily get more. First of all, destroyed riders and carriers can't be replaced. After Downbelow Station, Mazian only has 4 or 5 carriers. (Australia, Africa, India, Europe ... was there another one that survived Pell? I can't rememember!) He also has a few "spook" ships (converted merchanters used as spies/supply sources). Union, at least, has the resources to keep throwing ships at Mazian until it wears him down to nothing. One carrier (India?) appears to be destroyed by Alliance at the end of _Rimrunners_.

Food can be produced by hydroponics rigged up on the carriers or a captured station (good point!) or stolen from the merchanters; personnel can be impressed from merchanters or mining operations at star systems; fuel can be stolen from stations or other ships; but the Fleet has no reliable way to get spare parts. Mazian probably took over one of the mothballed STL stations, but the equipment left on it would be *old*, and most of the usuable stuff would have been taken. Parts/material could be pirated from merchant ships, but my guess is that many of the available components would not be compatible with the Fleet, especially if they were taken from Union-built ships. Things like seals for body armor, filters and the like would also be in short supply. A secret supply dump at Alpha Centauri station was referred to in _Rimrunners_ (or was it _Cyteen_?), but how long could this resource last? Especially if all the carriers came there to refit after Pell?

A carrier that sustained a lot of damage and was able to limp back to the supply base would probably be "grounded" simply because there would be no way to repair it. It could be cannibalized for parts for the other carriers and its crew used to augment other crews -- but it would be permanently out of operation. A more likely scenario is that a damaged carrier would be destroyed by Union, Alliance or Earth ships before it could get away.

Mazian could also lose ships simply because of equipment failure. Without a reliable way to get repairs, most of the Fleet would be running on backups -- and if the backup blows at a critical time, like when the carrier is stringing a jump ...

>> What would you do if you were Mazian?
If I were Mazian, I'd be out for serious vengeance. I would consider giving Cyteen and Pell the proverbial c-speed rock that was referred to in _Heavy Time_ and _Hellburner_. This would eliminate Alliance and cripple Union. Obviously, though, he didn't do it.
- nancy


view full message
>From: Jo Jaquinta <jaymin>
>Subject: CherryhList
>Date: Wed, 7 Oct 92 9:42:00 BST

> >From: ott@ansoft.com (nancy ott)
> I think attrition takes care of the Fleet by the time of _Cyteen_.
> Remember, they have limited resources to start with, and they can't
> easily get more.  First of all, destroyed riders and carriers can't be
> replaced.  
We get a good view of just how complicated and high-tech the riderships on an EC carrier are in _Hellburners_. It seems difficult to me to consider Pell being able to produce one, let alone Viking or Mariner. They are *ferociously* expensive as well. Fair enough for Cyteen, with state supported yards and money not really any question but on the other side of the line with the EC stations run as more or less commercial enterprises with little central authority, particularly where the war comes into it.
This leads me to beleive that the riderships weren't quite as "disposable" as I would have thought previously (particularly from playing the boardgame :-). It seems logical now that they just didn't lose riders any more often than they lost carriers since they were effectively irreplacable under the circumstances. In _Hellburners_ we see that the survival of the carrier is dependant on the riders and vice versa.
> Union has the resources to keep throwing ships at Mazian until it
> wears him down to nothing.  
But not necessarily the motive. After _Downbelow_ Mazian is virutally zero threat to Union. He *can't* effictively strike at them. Any military operation by Union could really only be for diplomatic reasons. In Merchanter's Luck it is a Merchanter force (Norway & Dublin) which forces Mazian out (Am I right? Or was there a Union ship there? Better re-read the books... again...)
In any event those military ships are *ferociously* expensive. Since Mazian is not, and is unlikely to be, a significant threat to Union I'm sure they would divert their resources into their colonial efforts. "The war is over, grab as much space as you can."
> One carrier (India?) appears to be
> destroyed by Alliance at the end of _Rimrunners_.
I don't think it was destroyed, just pushed out.
> but the Fleet has no reliable way to get spare parts.
OK. You make this point clearly. But remember in _Rimrunners_: recycling was an important job. You recover your raw materials and reprocess them. Remember the STL ships would be gone for years. They had to have the capability to create most servicable components from stored raw materials. Where storage is a premium requirement it is more cost-effective to maintain the construction facility rather than a stock of possibly-needed parts.
True, there are certainly components that could not be created and when they start to go they will have problems. But I would assume that most military ships would have triple redundency on critical systems. It will be some time before they break down enough to become unusable.
As inidcated in _Rimrunners_ fuel seems to be a big concern of theirs. This seems reasonable. You can't recycle fuel :-). But just *what* do they use as fuel? It is never really clear. We get a good view of compact ship servicing. Whatever it is it seems to be liquid. Also under small arms fire the servicing gantries leak "volotiles".
I'd put my money on "fusion" of some sort. Thus the fuel they need is hydrogen. In the Traveler RPG most ships run on fusion plants and their fuel is traditionally stored as liquid hydrogen. There was a big discussion on their mailing list about fuel storage. Their physical chemists were coming out saying it was more efficient to store a higher density of hydrogen as liquid amonia or even water.
Personally I'm in favour of Cherryh's ships "burning" water. When split for the power plant the residual oxygen would come in handy for life support. The pump on Thule leaks and a large icicle forms. There are reference to Thules's skimmers collecting fuel. Is this collecting ice from ice-ball satelites? It could be the Traveller-popular idea of skimming the upper surface of gas giants.
In any event all those would be difficult for carriers to do. However, if in extremis, all the materials I have mentiond could be rendered by hijacking an ice-ball from the cometary nebula Long and laborious true but I think within a Mazian carrier's capabilities. Maybe the India in _Rimrunners_ short-jumps to the Oort cloud, having failed to get the fuel from Thule?
> If I were Mazian, I'd be out for serious vengeance.  I would consider
> giving Cyteen and Pell the proverbial c-speed rock that was referred
> to in _Heavy Time_ and _Hellburner_.  This would eliminate Alliance
> and cripple Union.  Obviously, though, he didn't do it.
I would be suicide. I can see Mazian commiting a suicidal attack strategy in a battle situation (e.g. when the Tibet rams) but I don't really see it in his character to commit pre-meditated suicide for vengence. He is a survivor. And from our view of him in _Hellburners_ a really sneaky one :-)
				Jo


view full message
>From: Lesley Grant <lgrant>
>Subject: Re: C. J. Cherryh List
>Date: Tue, 13 Oct 92 10:13:53 BST
> >From: Jo Jaquinta <jaymin>
> > >From: ott@ansoft.com (nancy ott)
	[Nancy says Union has the capability to hunt down and
destroy the Mazianni]
> 	But not necessarily the motive. After _Downbelow_ Mazian is
> virutally zero threat to Union. He *can't* effictively strike at them.
> Any military operation by Union could really only be for diplomatic
> reasons. In Merchanter's Luck it is a Merchanter force (Norway & Dublin)
> which forces Mazian out (Am I right? Or was there a Union ship there?
> Better re-read the books... again...)
The books set right at the end of the War (Merchanter's Luck, and Rimrunners) do in fact show the Mazianni being hunted. Certainly in the time of _Merchanter's Luck_ they are still a force -- Edgars, Porey, Keu and Mazian are still around, and are the best/worst of the captains. If they weren't worth destroying, why would an operation involving the _Norway_, the _Dublin Again_ (financed by the State, don't forget) and Union military go after *just* the _Australia_?
> 	In any event those military ships are *ferociously* expensive.
> Since Mazian is not, and is unlikely to be, a significant threat to
> Union I'm sure they would divert their resources into their colonial
> efforts. "The war is over, grab as much space as you can."
They seem to have done much of it during the War. As for the military,like the military of today, it wants more money (see _Cyteen_).
> > One carrier (India?) appears to be
> > destroyed by Alliance at the end of _Rimrunners_.
> 	I don't think it was destroyed, just pushed out.
Ditto, but the end result was likely the same. Without fuel to jump, where's the _India_ going to go?
> > If I were Mazian, I'd be out for serious vengeance.  I would consider
> > giving Cyteen and Pell the proverbial c-speed rock that was referred
> > to in _Heavy Time_ and _Hellburner_.  This would eliminate Alliance
> > and cripple Union.  Obviously, though, he didn't do it.
> 	I would be suicide. I can see Mazian commiting a suicidal attack
> strategy in a battle situation (e.g. when the Tibet rams) but I don't
> really see it in his character to commit pre-meditated suicide for
> vengence. He is a survivor. And from our view of him in _Hellburners_ a
> really sneaky one :-)
I think neither Nancy nor myself would see ol' Conrad unable to face himself in the bathroom mirror and slitting his wrists, so to speak. However, *if all was lost* I could see him manoeuvering the remnants of the Fleet into a suicide attack on Union (and Alliance for that matter). It needn't even be suicide -- jump in, launch your missiles/rocks at C and (short)jump out again before defences know you're there -- Union doesn't have riders, so it can't blast your missiles before they hit.
			Lesley


view full message
>From: Jo Jaquinta <jaymin>
>Subject: CherryhList
>Date: Wed, 14 Oct 92 9:23:19 BST
> >From: Lesley Grant <lgrant>
> 	Ditto, but the end result was likely the same. Without fuel to
> jump, where's the _India_ going to go?
Well, now. We don't know it didn't have enough fuel to jump. We only know that it had sufficently little that the rider ships were taking their time coming in.
> However, *if all was lost* I could see him manoeuvering the remnants of
> the Fleet into a suicide attack on Union (and Alliance for that matter).
All is never lost for someone as resourceful as Mazian (or who sees himself as being resourceful). I can't ever see him giving up.
(...)
				Jo


view full message
>From: Lesley Grant <lgrant>
>Subject: Re: C. J. Cherryh List
>Date: Wed, 14 Oct 92 9:36:05 BST
> >From: Jo Jaquinta <jaymin>
> 
> > However, *if all was lost* I could see him manoeuvering the remnants of
> > the Fleet into a suicide attack on Union (and Alliance for that matter).
> 	All is never lost for someone as resourceful as Mazian (or who
> sees himself as being resourceful). I can't ever see him giving up.
Oh, I'll agree Mazian himself wouldn't, but I could see him getting the others to at least risk going in to get a shot at Cyteen ("Tom, do this. For *me*, Tom" :-)
I want a book giving some clue as to what Mazian *did* do! Did he withdraw to the far side of Earth when Union whipped his ass there? We all know what's on the far side of Earth...
(...)
				Lesley


view full message
>From: nancy ott <ott@ansoft.com>
>Subject: cherryhlist
>Date: Thu, 15 Oct 92 13:43:44 EDT
(...)
>       Oh, I'll agree Mazian himself wouldn't, but I could see him getting
> the others to at least risk going in to get a shot at Cyteen ("Tom, do this.
> For *me*, Tom" :-)
>       I want a book giving some clue as to what Mazian *did* do! Did he
> withdraw to the far side of Earth when Union whipped his ass there? We all
> know what's on the far side of Earth...
Maybe he runs into the Knnnn and is hauled off to parts unknown. :-) :-)

Seriously, on the one hand I wish Cherryh would give us details about the fate of Mazian's fleet. It would tie up some of the loose ends we've been discussing, and bring the Company War saga to a close. On the other hand, I kind of hope she doesn't -- I enjoy speculating about Mazian's behavior, plus the mystery adds some depth to the Union/Alliance universe (especially to novels like Merchanter's Luck and Rimrunners). Guess we'll just have to wait and see whether she drops any more clues about it.

(...)
- nancy

Copyright by the authors of the individual messages.
HTML formatting by Andreas Wandelt .